Welcome friends...thanks for coming by. We're seeking beauty in all of creation... in our faith and our families; our art and our music; our crafts and kitchens, and even in our own backyard. We'll share a poem or a recipe, a picture or a memory; maybe a dream of how we wish our life could be. And though we acknowledge that the world can be harsh, we're keeping it pleasant in our little corner; endeavoring to keep the words from the Book of all Books: ...Whatsoever things are lovely; think on these things.

I so enjoy hearing from you...so leave me a comment; it'll make my day!

Photo: Bee and thistle: Taken high in the Cascade Mountains where there is a bee buzzing on every thistle. by Debora Rorvig

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Five Loaves Farm and Territorial Seeds

You remember how the little boy gave Jesus 5 loaves of bread and two fish? Jesus blessed the food and when the disciples distributed it, it fed thousands of people, with leftovers! That's what 5 Loaves Farm in Lynden is doing...and just as in the ancient story, the loaves are multiplying! What started as one garden has become three! This year I am purchasing a 10 x 20 foot plot at the Methodist Church and will do the bulk of my veggie garden there. A portion of my harvest will go to the local foodbank, and the rest will be enjoyed by my family and friends. Thought you might enjoy viewing a little video clip about 5 Loaves...


AND...thanks to a tip from Alyce (the lady in the video), I found Territorial Seed Company. They even have a virtual garden planner! Here's my plan. All of my seeds will be heirloom (naturally); and I'm experimenting with companion gardening, which is planting items next to one another for maximum benefit. For example, the marigolds and the dukat dill will repel pests from my cabbage and onions. The spinach is tucked between the pole beans and the peas because they will cast shadows over the spinach, which doesn't like blazing sun. Nasturtiums are planted between the cukes and the squash to repel insects. And the sunflowers attract bees! That's the theory anyhow. And of course the weather has to cooperate...that's always iffy around our parts. Stay tuned for updates!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Swanky Shoes

So have you seen the clogs at The Swanx? Hand-painted works of art for your feet! Love it!!!! Admittedly, they're a little pricey, but oohh-la-la! How cute would any of these little numbers be with a simple black skirt with tights and a white blouse? Or how about with your faded old jeans and a black t-shirt. There are so many to choose from; and I read that you can have them customized. How cool is that? These are a few of my favorites. Here's the link if you're interested...http://www.theswanx.com/

Peace Out, Man!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Shhhh, don't turn me in to the lawn police...

What a leisurely Sunday!

Took Baron to park where he made new friends...Dexter the Wheaton terrier, Queenie the Aussie mix, and a Border Collie whose name I've forgotten. The Border Collie stole Baron's brand-new squeaky ball and wouldn't give it back. It felt like the days when your best-friend's toddler stole your child's toy...whaddaya do?

When we left it started to hail really hard. This is NOT the weather I am looking for!
By the time we got home the sun was out...go figure!

I think the sun made Hubby feel ambitious so he decided to prune the Gravenstein tree. He does a great job of pruning; but we still get very few apples in the summer. Like 7 or 8. I suspect it's because I won't use chemicals to kill the little bugs that invade it every spring. They gobble the apple blossoms like it's Thanksgiving Dinner! So if you have tips for how to kill the bugs without using harsh pesticides, I'd love to hear from you!

Hubby spotted me wandering about the yard with my camera. "Why don't you pick up the sticks?" he asked hopefully.
"Maybe later..." I lied. It's not gonna happen. I'm off the clock this afternoon!

 I've been moving Iris bulbs all around the yard, then forgetting where I put them. I'm noticing that they are poking through the soil in the most unusual places! With some luck Baron won't mow them down while chasing his squeaky ball.
 Eureka! I spotted an actual flower! (aside from heather plants, which don't count.) Welcome little crocus!

Tulips are popping up here and there. You can't really live in Lynden without planting tulips. It's a Dutch town. The yards are meticulous. Well, except mine. Our's used to be meticulous, with the help of all of Lilly Miller's handy dandy pesticides. Our grass no longer looks like a putting green. We don't have lots of shiny, toxic apples, and when it get's hot, heaven forbid, I let my lawn scorch a bit! I try to keep the dandelions in check with my neat new dandelion puller, but they're not as afraid of me now that I don't use Weed-n-Feed or Round-up...so they keep returning to my lawn.

Same with the moles. Word on the street, or in this case, in the tunnel, is that we're soft on vermin here on Park Street. Our friend Bob has a personal war with moles. He's kind of a red-neck. Don't worry, if Bob reads my blog, he'll be flattered to be called a  red-neck. Well Bob got so perturbed with his moles that he ran a hose attached to the exhaust of his car down the mole hill. Apparently the moles have some kind of civil defense early warning system, because he didn't kill a one! He did manage to somehow kill one mole. You know what he did? He put that dead mole's carcass on a stake in the yard to show the other's what would happen to them if they didn't skedaddle. I kid you not! But the moles weren't impressed. Moles are not easily intimidated. Either that or they were too blind to see their comrade hanging out to dry in the front yard. Well somehow, Bob found out that if you put little windmills in the yard, with poles that extend down into the dirt--the noise or vibration scares the critters away. He sent away for a few and by golly, they worked! So he brought us one, and by golly, it worked...they all took refuge in the back yard. So we now have 2 windmills, one for the front yard and one for the back yard. Now we're pretty much mole-free, but we've noticed a lot of mole hills next door.

People joke about our town.  Lynden, it is rumored, has 'lawn police' who visit unruly, non-mowing citizens. I've never actually seen a lawn policeman-but I suppose that the rumor helps keep us all in line. It's probably an urban legend. But if there are lawn police, I expect they'll be calling on me one of these days. I wonder if they'll search the garage to make sure that we have a good supply of Diazinon...

Ahhh, now this is what I'm talking about! A very unusual sighting in the Northwestern sky in February...

"Blue skies, nothing but blue skies...I see!"

Oh no! Hubby just came in and gave me the news...I missed it. The sticks are all picked up! Aw, shucks! (wink-wink!)

Hope you're Sunday is leisurely and that all of your sticks have been picked up for you!


Friday, February 24, 2012

"Guess we'll have to eat beans..."

Powder-monkey crew in the Olympic National Forest...OSU Archives
 Mom and Dad got married during the Great Depression. They were as poor as church-mice. Mom was a farmgirl and Dad was working up in the woods as a cook in the CCC Camp. When the CCC bosses got wind that dad had secretly married, he was fired. The Civilian Conservation Corp was part of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. They hired young unmarried men to do unskilled manual labor for $30 a month; of which $25 was sent home to their parents. You'll never convince me that this workforce was unskilled! Every time I travel the Mount Baker Highway, snaking it's way up some 3500 feet above sea level to Mount Baker, I think of my Dad...and I am proud. The road was hewn into the side of steep mountains with tunnels blasted through granite rock, and it's bridges traverse deep-cut canyons with the wild Nooksack River tumbling over boulders below. This backbreaking work was not for the weak or the timid. It involved dynamite, cutting down old growth stands of fir trees with cross-blade-saws, and working on dizzying precipices in the harshest winter blasts.

After Dad was let go, my parents did many things to try and eke out a living during those lean Depression years. Dad worked in lumbercamps, picked apples, and even did some prize-fighting. Mom took in ironing, was a housekeeper for rich folks (even cleaned a mortuary), and worked in canneries preserving fish and fruit. (And that's only a few of the jobs they did!) Back then there was no negotiating for better pay or for medical benefits or for vacation time. If you were lucky enough to find work...you did it for whatever they offered; and you were grateful. You worked hard. Real hard. We have no idea.

Anyway, by the time I came along in the fifties, the folks were doing better. Mom had a good job at the County Court House and Dad was grading lumber at Bloedel-Donovan's lumbermill on the shores of Lake Whatcom. We weren't rich by any means, but compared to those early years; things were pretty good. We still however, lived paycheck to paycheck; and as you know if you've ever lived paycheck to paycheck...the slightest hiccup in your budget can upset the whole darned apple cart! So when our car broke down or the pump for our water well broke down (as it often did) Dad would grin at Mom and say, "Guess we'll have to eat beans!" My folks knew how to live cheap.

Now to my parents...eating beans meant that you were broke. Not that they didn't like beans...it was just that if we had to eat beans, it was because we couldn't afford meat. So from time to time...we ate beans. But most of the time, Mom managed to find the cash to buy a ham-bone or a slab of bacon to throw into the pot.

These days, eating beans is fashionable. They call them 'legumes' and praise the benefits of eating low-fat and high in protein while saving the planet by reducing our carbon footprint by eating vegan. (As though this generation were the first to have cooked and eaten a bowl of beans! How narcissistic!) Now I do believe in living healthy...low fat and reducing my carbon footprint...I really do! But I have to smile when I think of what Dad would say if I invited him over for a bowl of my bean soup. I'm sure he'd look across the table at me with a wry grin and say,
"Broke? Guess we'll have to eat beans!"

Bean with Bacon Soup

1 lb. great northern beans, soaked in water overnight--you could buy canned beans, but we're talking economy and home cooking here...so don't be such a pansy...use the real stuff!

1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, chopped
2 cans vegetable broth--or make your own broth. I'm sure chicken or beef broth would be tasty in this soup!
3 cups of water, or enough to cover beans
1 8-oz pkg Trader Joe's uncured turkey bacon, fried and crumbled into pieces-or live dangerously and toss in a hambone or a slab of real fried bacon! If you're broke or vegan, omit the meat.
Salt and Pepper to taste
A few shakes of Old Bay Seasoning--this is my new favorite seasoning. I dunno what's in it, but I've been adding it to almost everything I cook lately, and it's fantastic.

Wash and soak the beans overnight, then rinse. Chop the veggies, mince the garlic. Put the beans into a large pot and add enough broth and water to cover the beans. Add fried bacon, veggies, garlic, and seasoning.  Bring to a rolling boil, skimming off any foam. Reduce heat and simmer for a couple of hours...until the beans are soft and the broth has thickened. (The thicker the better, I always say. It's hard to tell whether my soup is soup, or just beans and meat. I like it that way.) Salt and pepper to taste.

Cornbread with lots of butter is the best accompaniment to this meal.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Mom's Spanish Rice with Hamburger

My Sis and I were reminiscing about Mom's home cooking the other day. Our Mother could make a meal from just about anything she found in the pantry, and it was always tasty and so wholesome! Her Spanish Rice was the best! I've never been able to make it just as she did--and of course she never wrote down her 'everyday' recipes. She was much to practical for that. I think she assumed that anybody with any cooking sense at all could throw together some rice, tomatoes, and spices that would result in a filling, tasty meal. But not me! My Spanish Rice was always soupy or mushy. I've been craving this dish for about 2 weeks now, so I decided to look on line for a good recipe. I found some basic ones and tried to jog my brain to think about just what my mom might have added to hers. One thing's for sure...there'd be no meatless rice in her home unless were were dead broke! So I knew I'd need to add some ground beef. And since she never considered herself a 'gourmet', the spices would be inexpensive and common. Armed with that, and some basic recipes, I set out to make Mom's Spanish Rice...and I think I've come close! She wouldn't necessarily be proud of me for this accomplishment...more likely surprised that it took me this long to figure it out!

Mom's Spanish Rice with Hamburger
(as best as I can figure)

1 lb. ground beef
3-4 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups brown basmati rice (she wouldn't have used basmati, buy I love it!)
1 28-oz can of diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
Salt and pepper

Brown ground beef. Drain and set aside.
Place oil in a large pot. Saute onion, peppers, garlic, and rice in it. Make sure that the rice turns a nice golden brown.
Add the tomatoes, meat, and spices.
Cover and cook over a low to medium heat until the rice is flaky...about 40 minutes or so.


I think this meal is best serve simply...all by itself,
but if you're wanting a little dessert, a chunk of dark chocolate with a cup of coffee would be the perfect contrast.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

What's in that Box?

Come join me this morning on this bench that overlooks the ocean...yes-- right here next to the tulips and daffodils. Ahh, just breath the salty air and listen to the plaintive seagull's cry. It's so quiet here, I thought it would be the perfect place to talk. I want to tell you about something strange that happened to me...

Do you remember how I've been telling you that I'm cleaning out my place? Getting rid of things I've held on to  for years and years; honestly, I think I've kept some of that junk for decades!

Well the other day I was looking through my closet and I found a beat-up cardboard box buried under a bunch of stuff. I'd long since forgotten what was in it ...but I remembered moving it from house to house over the years-- always looking for an out-of-the-way spot to stash it away.  So this week I decided to take a peek inside. The box was heavy; way too bulky for me to lift. First I had to remove all of the things that were stacked on top of it. Then I got out a box knife and carefully cut the yellowed tape that held it shut. It was musty and stank of age, and the accumulated dust made me cough and sneeze.

Well you can imagine my surprise when I saw that the box contained axe-heads! Several of them. And here's the odd part-- each one had a name taped to it. Some were relatives' names. Some were friends or business aquaintances from long ago.

I took one of the axe heads out of the box and looked it over carefully. The name on it was from childhood.  Yeah, I remembered them...they weren't very nice to me when I was a little girl...painfully memories flooded my heart and mind. I pulled another one out. Beth-Ann ______, it said. A former business aquaintance...she'd cheated me out of some commissions I'd worked really hard to get. What a greedy, manipulative witch! Bitterness...anger...resentment was just pulsing through my veins.

After reading a few more names, it became very apparent to me that every axe-head bore the name of someone who had hurt me.

Aha! Now I knew! These were axes that I had to grind...that's what they were! Even though I thought I'd done a pretty good job of burying them in my closet...here they were, taking up valuable space in my life... and even after all these years I was feeling all of those same toxic emotions that had come with the intial offense. This was awful! Why, oh why, was I holding on to this stuff?

I knew I needed to get rid of them, but they were sooo heavy. I wondered how would I dispose of this toxic mess? I called my friend Jesus for advice.

"I'll take them away for you," he assured me. "But there's one thing you have to do."
"Forgive them."
"But how can I forget..."
"I said forgive...not forget."
"But they were wrong..."
"Yes, they were. Forgiving doesn't make them right; it cuts their connection to you."

I knew he was right. So I forgave them all. And you'll never guess what happened...a marvelous thing! When I went back to the closet to check the box...it was gone! Disappeared! In it's place was a beautiful robe that smelled like lilies of the valley with a note that read...

Dear Debora,

"The Lord hath appointed me...to give{you}beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness..." 
Jesus.      (Isaiah 61:3)

So I don't know when you last checked your closets. But if you should find a cumbersome box full of axes to grind, you might want to give Jesus a call. I'm just sayin...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Something's a-foot!

The skies may be all a-gloom,

The forest may seem dormant

The pond eerie and silent,

But if you look really closely...
nature is yawning and waking up.

Something is definitely a-foot!


Pussy Willows

Close your eyes

And do not peek

And I’ll rub Spring

Across your cheek...

Aileen Fisher

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

From the Heart

They say the best gifts are from the heart. I hope it's true, because my card for hubby had to come from the heart this year...and not Hallmark. I've been home for 8 days (but whose counting?) and wasn't able to go out and buy a card or gift. Though I've orders to stay home this week, I am feeling much improved, so I decided to make my hubby a card. I gathered up red things, bows, ribbons, napkins, newspaper, and whatever else I could find. No glue--that's a problem. I had to make glue out of flour and water, like I did as a child. Did you ever do that, or is it something I learned because we were economically challenged? 
Anyway, though the pinks and florals were prettier, I decided on a more masculine look...a kind of a mixed media collage. The paper looks discolored because of my hokey glue. It was thick and difficult to work with. But it dried ok.
 Being a 'word' person, I loved being able to convey my sentiments on the crossword puzzles.  The two halves of the hearts that say 'you' 'me' represent us before we met. The halves become one in the 'together' heart. The word search has 'we' and 'love'. Succinct, but it's the 'glue' for marriage...and not the flour and water kind--the superglue!
We'll have a quiet celebration here at home as I recoup. This weekend perhaps a nice dinner and a movie. Happy Valentine's Day to you all. May you find true love in your live and your relationships with others and with God.

PS: Many, many thanks for your prayers. The funk I was in both physically and spiritually has lifted tremendously. This morning was a big breakthrough for me. What happened? Jesus happened-- and of course, He brought peace with him. What lovely gifts He gives...and how sweet that it happens to be Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

More than they that watch for the morning...

Photograph entitled "Waiting for Morning" by Debora Rorvig

I've been going through a rough place lately. It's 2:03 am. Up... waiting for morning...waiting for answers. Knowing that the answer is as near to me as my own heart. Knowing that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. So I don't despair. I wait...

OUT of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord. Lord hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?But there is foregiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.

I wait for the Lord,
my soul doth wait,
and in his word do I hope.

My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say more than they that watch for the morning.

Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy and with him is plenteous redemption.And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
                                                                      Psalms 130

WAIT on the Lord:
 be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart:
wait I say, on the LORD.
                                                                                              Psalms 27:14

THEY that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
and they shall walk,
and not faint.
                                                           Isaiah 40:31


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Brush Your Mousey's Hair

Once upon a time there was a good mommy mouse. (Well actually she was a rat, but I don't like rats, so I'm using artistic license with the story.) And as in any good story, there was a bad mommy mouse. The good mommy mouse wanted to make sure that her pups were clean and well fed, so she groomed and licked them until their little mousey-fur shone, and she fed them until their little mousey-bellies were full and chubby. Now the other mommy mouse was very very distracted. Busy. Nervous. She didn't spend so much time feeding and grooming her little ones.

In time, all of the baby mice grew up. Oh, I nearly forgot to mention that all of the mice were being observed by a benevolent giant...Dr. Moshe Szyf.  Dr. Szyf had this idea. He thought that maybe, just maybe, you and I are more than our genetic code. So he watched the mice.

Well, the mice with the nurturing mom turned out different than those of the bad mom. They were stronger, more confident, happier little mice. 'Bad' mommy's babies grew up to be nervous wrecks.

And Dr. Szyf discovered something huge. Apparently, good momma's licking had imprinted something onto her babies' DNA, something that would stay with them for their entire lives; a sense of well-being in their world. Apparently, our DNA can be altered by life experiences. It's called the science of epigenetics. Look it up! http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/epigenetics/rats/

Why is this important to me or you?  Well, for one thing, as Ricky Ricardo used to say to Lucy, it 'splains' some things to me about my 'nervous' inclinations. That's all I'm gonna share 'bout that!

All personal things aside, we know it's true that kids who grow up in stressful environments grow up to be more anxious, more sickly, more depressed, and more unhappy. Wow, that's depressing! But of course the good news for you and me and anyone who dares to believe it is that Jesus can turn water into wine; and if he can change the molecular structure of water, he can certainly alter a few faulty genes in my body! Hallelujia! So, my nervous-mousey friends, take heart and look up these verses...
Joel 2:25, Colossians 1:13, II Corinthains 5:17-18, Psalms 45:10, 3 John 2, Philippians 3:13

But lets talk about prevention. What can we do to raise healthy little mousies? Maybe we should start with something easy, like brushing their hair. Do you remember when mamma or sister or auntie used to sit and brush your hair? Not that head-raking you got when you were late for school and there were exactly 30 seconds to get your bed-head in order before you raced out to catch the bus. No, I'm talking about slow, methodic strokes; relaxing and almost sensual hair-brushing. When did you last do that? When did someone last do that for you? Ladies, isn't this part of the experience we look for at the salon? There's just something about being stroked by another person. Even our pets need it.

I see hundreds of children every day. Some look as though they've never seen a hairbrush in their lives. It's not the worst thing for a child to have scruffy hair. Next to hunger and homelessness and abuse it's pretty insignificant. But often those children are hyper. Nervous. Hard to manage. Could it be that their scruffiness is an indication of a nervous, distracted mousey mamma? Is she taking any time for nurturing her little pups? She's probably frantic, just trying to keep food on the table. Problem is, her babies will probably grow up to be frantic adults.

We need to start somewhere. Maybe it's by brushing a child's hair...or filling their bellies with a warm
bowl of spaghetti. We need to imprint something on that child's molecules that says, "You are loved. I am here for you. You are going to be taken care of."

I once read that a grandparent will be most loved and venerated by their grandchildren if they provide two simple things for their grandchildren...1. your time  2. food.

It isn't hard really. It just takes a little intention, a little time, and a hairbrush!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Grandma's Jewelry Box Gets a Makeover

With the renovation of my bedroom from Victorian to modern, it was time to do something about my jewelry. I'm not a big jewelry person, but over the years I've collected quite a few pieces. It wouldn't all fit in one jewelry box, so I had two boxes sitting on the old dresser. Even so, things were a mess and I could never find what I was looking for.

I've been looking for a way to store my jewelry out of sight to keep that clean look I've come to love. While cruising Goodwill with my Sis, we noticed this old-school jewelry box. Hmmm, it's got 4 trays in it, but that fabric is straight from the 80's. Grandma's trying to go modern, not 80's!

But based on the compact size and roominess for all of my stuff, I bought the old box with the idea of recovering it.

A little clean-up and some Contact paper, and voile!

Everything fit!

4 bracelets...

Precious mementos...

16 necklaces...

10 brooches...

16 pair of earrings...

Best of all, it's neat! Grandma can find her jewelry in a snap! And I can easily store it under the bed or in the closet!


Monday, February 6, 2012

Sultans of String - Luna (whale song)

Many many years ago, we took a drive to the beach at Point Roberts, Washington. Point Roberts is US territory, but you have to go through Canada to get there. I think it's because the land dips below the 49th parallel. It was a beautiful, sunny day at the beach. Just off-shore there was a pod of Orca whales. The park ranger had placed a waterproof microphone into the water so that we could hear the whales calling to one another. We were the only family on the beach that day, so the ranger spent the afternoon letting the children listen to the whales and telling them all about Orcas.  Here we were, a poor young family, too broke to go to an aquarium, and yet we were given the opportunity that most never have...a chance to listen to a whale pod and to see them breaching just out from the shoreline! This music brings back fond memories of that enchanting day. If you've never heard the Sultans of String, you're in for a treat!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Going Back Home

Kelly goes into the convenience store while I wait in the car. I turn off the radio and close my eyes.

Yes, she's still here. I can see her quite clearly in my mind. Slightly chubby, dishwater blonde--pixie haircut...a quiet child with a slightly crooked smile. And there's her puppy, Honey. She's running about the yard with the little blonde cock-a-poo... obviously that child and dog are the very best of friends. In my mind it's a beautiful summer day, and the pasture across the road from where I sit is dotted with dandelions and spotted holstein milk-cows. The child and dog cross the road, slip under the barbed-wire fence, and race to the top of the pasture's big hill. When they reach the top, they throw themselves upon the grass and lie amid the dandelions...content just to lie there watching clouds roll by.

Now the car door opens and Kelly tosses a Butterfingers candy bar into my lap. It startles me. The little girl and her doggy disappear and once again I am sitting the the AM/PM parking lot. But this place wasn't always a parking lot. There was once a cottage in this very spot. A family lived here. A little girl and her mama and daddy...with her puppy Honey and a kitten called Tuffy. There was a garden plot out there in the back, a clothesline and a blackberry patch.

This parking lot was once my home.

Someone once said you can't go home; I disagree. I go there often...and it hasn't changed a bit!

 Blessings to you, little girl with your puppy. Lie there on the hill and dream. Your future is bright. This I know.


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